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Do You Know Your Numbers?

High cholesterol isn't something that you can see, and you may not even know that it's a problem - until it's too late. Elevated "bad cholesterol," or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), can cause plaque build-up that can narrow your arteries. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease which can result in events like heart attack and stroke.

Am I at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease?

Here are some risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A number of factors, individually or in combination, can lead to heart disease. You may want to talk to your doctor about a plan to manage your heart risk.

Am I a male over 40?
Am I a female over 50?
Do I have heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure?
Does anyone in my family have a history of heart disease or stroke?
Is my waistline greater than 40 inches (men) or 35 inches (women)?
Do I lead a sedentary lifestyle?
Do I smoke?

Answering yes to any two of these questions could mean that you're at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Even if you live an active lifestyle, and feel healthy, it's a good idea to ask your doctor about measuring your cholesterol levels.

What Can I Do to Help?

If your loved one is at risk for cardiovascular disease, there are things you can do to support them in managing their cardiovascular risk.

First of all...
Encourage them to get checked – elevated cholesterol can sneak up on you, and you may not realize you are at risk.


Serve Up a Healthier Meal
  • If you're the chef in the family, serve a variety of foods including vegetables and fruits, grains, dairy, and meat and alternatives.
  • Start the day out with a nutritious breakfast – egg whites are low in saturated and trans fat.
  • Keep track of portion sizes – often we fill our plates, and finish it off, even if we're no longer hungry. A good trick is to use smaller plates – we're less likely to oversize our portions, and the plate still looks full.
  • Keep a pitcher of water on the table – staying hydrated is a good way to eat less.
  • Limit the salt, alcohol– try salt substitutes that add flavor without adding salt.

Exercise Without Even Noticing
Become your own exercise buddies! Try going out for walks together in the evening, or bike rides through the neighbourhood.
  • Do a regular activity together – whether it's learning to curl, bowl, play tennis, or dance, you'll enjoy meeting new people, and learning a new skill while being active.

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